One of the main things I struggle with is how to know what God wants me to do. When the decision is between right and wrong it’s not hard to know the answer. But when there are several good options or when the future is cloudy and I’m confused and frustrated, it is harder to discern God’s will. Some time ago my husband came up with 10 questions to consider when trying to discern the will of God. They have helped me and I hope they will be helpful to you as well.
1. Am I in a right relationship with God?
If there is unconfessed sin in my life, it is a barrier between God and me. Our fellowship is broken. See Psalm 32:1-6, 66: 18-20.
2. Do I want to know and do God’s will?
Jesus says that whoever is willing to do what God wants will know what it is. See John 7:17.
3. Have I asked God for wisdom?
God promises us sound judgment, but we must ask and keep on asking. See James 1:5 and 2 Timothy 1:7.
4. Does the Bible speak to this decision in any way?
Some decisions have been clearly addressed in Scripture. God does not lead contrary to what He has already said in His Word.
5. Have I assembled and studied all the facts?
It is wise to list the pros and cons and ask, “What obligations do I already have that I must keep?”
6. Do I have deep inner conviction and peace about this?
Do I have peace and conviction about what is right? Paul says, “Anything which does not arise from conviction is sin.” See Romans 14:23 and Philippians 4:6-7. Sometimes we must pray and fast regularly about a question before we receive God’s peace. God’s peace is deeper than the acceptance given by a casual world.
7. Have I sought the advice of mature believers who know know me well?
Others will not always be right, but if three or four mature believers agree, their opinions must be seriously considered. Always ask others to pray for you as well as advise you.
8. Will this help me to better love God and my neighbor?
This is the most important goal in life. If something hinders this goal, we must carefully examine the problem. See Matthew 22:37-39.
9. Is this my decision to make?
I may be worrying about something that will eventually be decided by someone else.
10. Do I have to decide now or can it wait?
Often we worry needlessly about decisions that are not really pressing. Sometimes they go away.
Sometimes when I ask God for guidance, He doesn’t answer immediately. Often I’m not yet ready for the answer. I need to stop struggling to know His will and simply seek to know Him. In His time and in His way He will reveal His will to me. My primary job is simply to get to know Him better, to open my heart to whatever He would teach me in a time of waiting. See Jeremiah 33:3.
Editor’s note: Check out Susan’s site every Wednesday for a blog post and sign up to receive “One word,” a twice-a-week e-mail on one character trait of God. FB: @susanalexanderyates T: @susanayates P: @susan2187